Tag Archives: overwatch

The Switch Just Can’t Handle Overwatch

With today’s launch of Overwatch on Nintendo Switch, there is officially a worst way to play one of the best games of all time.

There are a lot of sub-optimal things about this port. The timing is inopportune, for one. Overwatch is landing on Switch three and a half years after its original release, and on the tail end of a controversy surrounding its publisher, Blizzard. While the Switch has become a veritable port vacuum, it’s difficult to imagine the game’s target demographic—the sort of person who slept this long on the massively popular team shooter, but is excited enough to try it out on the one console least likely to showcase all the things that made it popular.

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Overwatch is about coordination, strategy, accuracy, and positioning. A lot of games are, but Overwatch is an addictive, mind-stretching cocktail of these things in perfect ratio. Unfortunately, the Switch isn’t a great console for online competitive gaming. Unless you’ve got a LAN adapter and a Pro controller and you’re playing in docked mode, it can be tricky to summon the accuracy and timing necessary to best enemies. Even for people who enjoy playing competitive games casually, these minor technical hiccups can make a relaxing gameplay session frustrating. Overwatch is not immune to this.

On the Switch, Overwatch runs at 30 frames per second. Playing for a couple of hours today on both my brand new Overwatch Switch controller and some brand new Joy-Cons, I noticed some minor to severe lag when shooting McCree’s pistol or Sigma’s rocks at opponents, which often led me to miss. (Note for Pharah mains: The skies are clear!)

Strangely enough, playing in handheld mode felt best, although that meant I couldn’t connect the console to a LAN adapter. Thankfully, handheld mode is where the game is at its most gorgeous, with all the colors and detail of maps like Busan and Paris popping out at you. On a big screen, some characters look a bit fuzzy.

The Switch edition of Overwatch adds something else that, when I first heard it advertised, really blew my mind: motion controls. One Overwatch producer compared it to playing with “a laser pointer,” adding that it can “give a little nudge to your aim and help line up shots.” It also moves the camera, although players can continue using the right joystick to do that, too.

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For Overwatch, motion controls are decidedly weird—and I say this as a dedicated Splatoon and Splatoon 2 player who has used motion controls for a shooter before. It was hellish to play McCree with motion controls. His satisfying combination of shoot, roll, stun, and fan the hammer loses all the tightness that makes it a combination at all. In one instance, I missed the first shot, accidentally rolled closer to my enemies instead of away, missed my stun, and unloaded my entire cylinder into the sky. This, of course, is all on me.

I can imagine a far-off world where I get very used to turning my controller a little downwards to pull off a headshot. I cannot imagine one where I get used to swinging the Switch around to check out my backline. Thankfully, the game allows you to map a button to recentering the gyro camera. I recommend this.

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I initially played Overwatch on Xbox One, and then purchased a gaming PC specifically to get more fidelity with this game. I’m not the person Blizzard was thinking of when they put it on the Switch. I’m excited for curious or casual players to try out a game that, three years later, I can’t stop playing—but I feel a little sorry that they won’t be able to experience the very best it can offer.

[Update—8:30 pm ET]: Kotaku has removed a line about how several Switch games require an app for in-game voice chat because it was not clear that Overwatch, unlike others, has integrated voice chat.

Source: Kotaku.com

Blizzard Cancels Overwatch Launch Event At Nintendo World Store

The Nintendo World Store in New York City
Photo: Cindy Ord (Getty)

On Wednesday, Blizzard was supposed to be holding a big launch event for the Switch version of Overwatch at the Nintendo World Store in New York City. That event has now been cancelled by Blizzard.

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Hrm. I wonder why.

Source: Kotaku.com

The Tension Of Playing Overwatch During A Blizzard Controversy

Yesterday, like I do every day, I wrapped up my workday, closed my Chrome tabs and, without pausing, hit the Windows button on my keyboard. In the search bar, I typed “Over-” and hit enter. My eyes found the big, blue “Play” button on the game launcher. Overwatch’s familiar orchestral music swelled and, in an oblivious four clicks, I was queued up for a game. I won that game, and the next, and it felt good, like it always does, to win.

It was eerily easy not to consider my own actions in the context of the week’s Blizzard news. We often load up our go-to games impulsively, without consideration for what it may mean in a greater ethical context. Right now, it’s something we could stand to wrestle with more mindfully.

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My play session was on the tail end of a news cycle criticizing Overwatch’s publisher, Blizzard, for their excessive punishment of Hearthstone pro Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai for saying “Liberate Hong Kong. Revolution of our age!” on stream. Blizzard said Chung, who had just won his Grandmasters game, violated the Official Competition Rules v1.4 P.12, Section 6.1 (0) by “engaging in any act that, in Blizzard’s sole discretion, brings you into public disrepute, offends a portion or group of the public, or otherwise damages Blizzard.” Chung received no prize money and a one-year suspension while the competition’s casters were fired. Outrage ensued, and I was not an unbiased bystander to it.

Someone covered up the “Every Voice Matters” and “Think Globally” phrases in a Blizzard headquarters statue expressing the company’s values. College Hearthstone players expressed their solidarity with a “Free Hong Kong, Boycott Blizzard” sign. The Hearthstone subreddit closed, overwhelmed by the explosion of criticism. Hearthstone casters have quit—famous ones, too. Dozens on social media said they were cancelling their Blizzard accounts or World of Warcraft subscriptions. All of this so consumers—fans, even—can show Blizzard that they will not support a company that thwarts people’s livelihoods and snatches away financial resources when they make statements about human rights they deem inappropriate.

I cannot, as a journalist who covers Overwatch and WoW Classic, entirely cut myself off from what I write about. But what deeply unsettled me was how easy it was to go from fury and rage over Blizzard’s decision to impulsively queueing myself up for a couple rounds of Overwatch to de-stress after work. We are creatures of pattern, and once my responsibilities are complete, an aura of droneishness overcomes me as I fall into my favorite pattern: a glass of bourbon on ice and an hour of Overwatch.

Games are designed this way. Seamless. Music engineered to transition you into the gaming mindspace. Fewer clicks before jumping into a game. No downtime during the gameplay loops. Fewer barriers before queueing up for another one. This immersive world with its own, separate set of values and stakes is designed to feel isolated from life. Overwatch presents a utopian, multicultural world, which, as game director Jeff Kaplan once told Kotaku, is meant to suggest that “it’s time to move on from some of these visions that we keep reinforcing rather than imagining something being a little different.”

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An online game is simultaneously an escapist paradise and a big-money commodity. They’re both player-built digital communities and the products of publicly-traded companies like Blizzard-Activision, which above all function in the service of financial objectives.

They can be all these things at once, but it’s time I, and others, stop thinking of them as separate. Overwatch is not separate from Blizzard and the controversy its actions deserve. The place where it lives in my mind is. I need to do the mental work of folding my impulses around playing Overwatch into my deep, deep anger about how they behaved toward Chung and the Hearthstone casters. Once others do the same, we might find that we have more power over our impulses than we thought. 

Source: Kotaku.com

The Inevitable Cosplay Of Overwatch’s Mei Supporting Hong Kong

Yesterday, when Kotaku reported that Overwatch’s Mei had been turned into a symbol of the Hong Kong resistance, one commenter wondered if there would be cosplay of this at next month’s BlizzCon. Probably! But we don’t have to wait that long.

Redditor Zephronica uploaded these photos to r/HongKong of what has to be the first cosplay of Mei supporting the Hong Kong resistance.

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Initially, Zephronica thought about burning the costume. “After the whole Blizzard fiasco, there was no way I could wear this cosplay in good conscience anymore, so I thought about showing displeasure by burning this cosplay,” the cosplayer wrote. “Though after seeing all the memes of Hong Kong Mei, I’ve decided that this is a much better choice.”

If you are wondering why there’s a maple leaf on the protest sign, Zephronica is supporting the protesters all the way from Canada.

BlizzCon will be held November 1 and 2. Expect Mei cosplay and support for Hong Kong.

Source: Kotaku.com

Overwatch’s Mei Is Becoming A Symbol Of The Hong Kong Resistance

Kotaku EastEast is your slice of Asian internet culture, bringing you the latest talking points from Japan, Korea, China and beyond. Tune in every morning from 4am to 8am.

After Chung “Blitzchung” Ng Wai called for the liberation of Hong Kong, Blizzard suspended the Hearthstone player and withheld any prize money. The decision has been widely criticized. Fans have now started posting images of Overwatch hero Mei supporting the Hong Kong protests as a show of solidarity.

In Overwatch, Mei hails from Xi’an, China. By turning her into a symbol of the Hong Kong resistance, fans are showing the character standing up to Chinese rule while thumbing their noses at Blizzard.

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Photoshops originated on r/HongKong (here and here) with Redditors encouraging each other to share the images. Twitter users have also been uploading images.

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Mei isn’t the only Overwatch character being used to show support for the Hong Kong protests.

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Source: Kotaku.com

BlizzCon In-Game Loot Is One Of My Favorite Annual Gaming Traditions

People get excited about Blizzard’s annual fan convention for many reasons. Some look forward to meeting up with friends. Others are eager to hear news about upcoming games and expansions. Me? I’m mainly here for the ridiculous in-game items rolled out for World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, StarCraft, Heroes of the Storm, and Hearthstone every BlizzCon.

It used to be that one had to physically attend BlizzCon in order to reap the in-game rewards. The first three years the show was held, goodie bags included physical cards with codes to enter on the Blizzard website to redeem digital items. Those cards would show up on eBay in large numbers as soon as the show started each year. Sometimes the codes on them wouldn’t even be used.

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My first BlizzCon was in 2008. The card included in the swag bag handed out to attendees included a code for one of the game’s silliest mounts, the Big BlizzCon Bear. Nothing breaks immersion like a goggle-wearing polar bear ridden by a murloc holding a BlizzCon pennant. I am ridiculously proud of this stupid thing, even if all I did to receive it was type in a series of characters into a website. I missed out on BlizzCon 2005’s World of Warcraft Murloc vanity pet and 2007’s Murloc suit, but I got my bear, dammit.

In 2009, Blizzard started selling the BlizzCon Virtual Ticket, a pay-per-view style package which allowed fans unable to attend the convention to watch remotely. More importantly, the Virtual Ticket came with codes to unlock whichever virtual goods BlizzCon’s physical attendees got in their bags. No longer would Blizzard game lovers feel the gut-twisting anxiety of knowing a select few people were getting a thing they couldn’t acquire without a substantial eBay investment. All they needed was $40 or $50 and a dream. Or just the cash.

Some people would say allowing everyone to pay money to receive in-game items once reserved for a select group of convention attendees makes those items less special. Those people can suck it. Who would deny their fellow fans a chance to own the Diablo III Murkgoblin pet (2015)? Or the Heroes of the Storm Nexus Charger mount (2014)? Would I survive if I didn’t get the Overwatch BlizzCon Winston skin (2017)? Yes, but I would not be happy about it.

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Anyway, this is all to say that the BlizzCon 2019 Virtual Ticket was just announced, offering the ability to watch the upcoming convention, from the opening ceremonies the morning of November 1 to the closing concert in the evening of November 2. I’ve already acquired mine, which is how my characters are already sporting the fetching Wooly Wendigo onesie and hanging out with Finduin and Gillvanas, Murloc versions of the leaders of the Alliance and Horde.

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And while I am not much of an Overwatch player, the Switch version is coming out soon, and I would look really nice playing it in the Illidan Genji or Tyrande Symmetra skins, based on two of World of Warcraft’s less crispy night elves.

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The cross-game mash-ups, the Murloc mayhem—I love it, and I look forward to BlizzCon’s bonuses every year. One day, these games will all be dead and none of these virtual items will exist, but neither will I.

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Wow. Dark.

Source: Kotaku.com

Blizzard Really Wants Overwatch Characters In Smash

With Overwatch due out on the Switch next week, it’s obviously time for fans to start incessantly calling for characters like Pharah and Mercy to make an appearance in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. The loudest voice among them, though, will belong to Blizzard themselves.

In an interview with IGN, Blizzard’s Jeff Kaplan was asked which Overwatch character he’d like to see in Smash, and replied, “To the Smash Brothers team, whatever character you want, we love them all. They’re all our babies, you can have any single one of them. We have 31 to choose from.”

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“Tracer’s our girl, Tracer’s our mascot. She’d be my first choice,” he added. “There’s a lot of great runners up. I think a lot of people can immediately see Doomfist gameplay applying to Smash, but if it were up to me, I’d like to see Tracer.”

Or Reinhardt. Or Reaper. Or Sombra. Or Zarya. Or, look, like he says, any of them, they’d pretty much all fit.

Overwatch is out on the Switch on October 15.

Source: Kotaku.com

Overwatch’s League Championship Merch Just Went Up For Sale (With Free Shipping)

The San Francisco Shock, led by Season MVP Sinatraa and Finals MVP ChoiHyoBin, trounced their rivals the Vancouver Titans in a shockingly fast 4-0 match to win the 2019 Overwatch League Championship.

The Shock looked impressive and outclassed their opponents, with sick Doomfist and Sigma plays, as well as a hilarious, chandelier-Bastion strategy on Eichenwalde. (Poor Haksal didn’t get any space.)

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Right now, Shock fans can celebrate the team’s dominant showing with merch from Fanatics. Use promo code KINJAFREESHIP to get free shipping on jackets, hoodies, pins, jerseys, pennants and more.


Source: Kotaku.com

Overwatch’s Bastion Moonlights As Aerial Circus Act

It’s unlikely that, before yesterday, anybody used the words “trapeze artist” to describe Overwatch’s turret hero Bastion. One hype play at the Overwatch League grand finals revealed the hero’s potential as an aerial circus act.

Early on in the San Francisco Shock’s 4-0 sweep of the Vancouver Titans, Bastion player Minho “Architect” Park was helping his team finish the final point at the Eichenwalde map. It’s usually a good call to position Bastion on high ground so it gets more angles on the enemy team. Some savvy players will push it up onto a ledge with an ice wall from the hero Mei; others might exploit little glitches in the maps. Park did something new altogether:

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Propelling himself onto the chandelier with Bastion’s explosive tank-mode shells, Park achieves a perfect 360-degree vantage point for maximum kills. The live crowd watching went absolutely ballistic (pun intended) as he proceeded to mow down Titans’ stragglers racing onto the point. Caster Mitch “Uber” Leslie described him as a “trapeze artist.”

In a press conference after the game, Park was asked what inspired the move. “It wasn’t planned,” he said. “Originally, Rascal was supposed to use a Mei wall to lift him up to get onto the chandelier. But out of no where, he told himself he’s able to use Bastion’s ult to boost himself from the floor. It was an instant decision he made.”

Logic says it was, at best, improbable that a pro made this risky move for the first time when $1,100,000 was on the line. But regardless, I’m looking forward to my teammates copying trapeze Bastion in-game. To my enemies, though: Shh, you never saw this.

Source: Kotaku.com

The San Francisco Shock took the 2019 Overwatch League grand finals, $1,100,000, and the Vancouver

The San Francisco Shock took the 2019 Overwatch League grand finals, $1,100,000, and the Vancouver Titans’ dignity with a 4-0 sweep today. The superfast win comes off the heels of a 23-5 season, which includes their completion of the league’s first-ever perfect stage. “We knocked on wood, for sure,” said season MVP Jay “Sinatraa” Won of their pre-game prep.

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Source: Kotaku.com